It's never too early to teach a child how to dial 911, as the Powers family found that out last month.
On Feb. 20, Shawn Powers in his backyard with daughters, Elisha, who was 3 at the time, and Elena, 2, clearing brush when the sharpened machete he was swinging sliced into his arm, severing an artery, nerves and tendons.
Using his other hand to staunch the bleeding, Shawn ran to the neighbor's house but no one was home.
The Powers had just taught Elisha in December about dialing 911 and Shawn asked his daughter to draw upon those lessons. She took the phone from his pocket, unlocked it, dialed 911 and held the phone to his ear while he talked to dispatchers.
"The thing that got me was how calm she stayed," said Shawn, despite the blood on the porch from the wound.
Firefighters and National EMS medical personnel soon arrived; Shawn praised their professionalism. The girls went to the Powers' landlord until their mom could arrive. Shawn was taken to Grady Memorial where he had two surgeries. He's now in physical therapy, slowly regaining the use of his fingers.
Andrea Powers said her daughter didn't speak after the event but was better after her husband came home from the hospital that following Monday. "She told her dad, ‘Daddy I love you, you can't die, you can't leave us."
March 18 was declared "Elisha Powers Day" in the county. Rockdale Fire and Rescue presented a "Little Dispatcher" T-shirt for Elisha at the BOC meeting. E-911 Director Bill Cates also recognized the performance of dispatcher Keosha Gibbs-Lucas, who recently started six months ago.
The surgeries and therapy have set the Powers family back quite a bit, more than $90,000; Shawn had just started a new job and was not yet covered by insurance when the accident occurred. Anyone who wants to help the family can go to Giveforward.com and search "Shawn Powers."
Shawn said Elisha, who is now 4 and will be heading to Kindergarten at Lorraine Elementary, remains modest about the recognition she gets in public sometimes.
He said, "She's my hero. I keep telling her that. She says ‘I know.'"